Sour Cherry Slab Pie

July 22, 2013

Sour Cherry Slab Pie - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…
My family has a farm that dates back to the mid-1800’s. We call it “the Big House.” It is pretty big, and one of my aunts lives in it now. It is one of my favorite places on earth.  There are two Montmorency cherry trees there that were planted in 1967 for my Aunt Gigi’s birthday, and this year we just happened to be down in central Illinois when the cherries were ready to be picked!

cherry picking

cherry pickingWe got just enough cherries before the kids started going bonkers (Stella seriously needed a nap).  I always make pie with the cherries, and this year I really wanted something different.  While browsing Smitten Kitchen (I really used a lot of her recipes this week!), I came across this one.  OMG I will be making this again!!!  You really should try it before this very short cherry season is over! (It might already be…it’s taken me way too long to get around to writing this).

Cherries(Yes his shorts are backwards…oops!  Four-year-olds still sometimes have a little trouble getting dressed.  🙂 )

Sour cherry slab pie


Sour cherry slab pie - Sweet & Savory Kitchens


Sour Cherry Slab Pie

from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 recipes flaky butter pie dough, divided, patted into thick rectangles, wrapped in plastic and chilled for at least an hour in the fridge

6 cups sour cherries, pitted (fresh or frozen will work; if frozen, defrost and drain first)
3/4 to 1 1/4 cups of sugar (depending on how tart your cherries are.  I used 1 cup.)
1/4 cup cornstarch
Juice of half a lemon
Pinch or two of salt
2 tablespoons heavy cream or one egg, beaten with a tablespoon of water

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 to 2 tablespoons milk or water or 1 tablespoon water plus 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 375°. In a large bowl, combine cherries, sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and salt. Stir to combine; set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the larger piece of dough into an 18-by-12-inch rectangle.

Transfer to a 15-by-10-by-1-inch rimmed baking sheet, (pastry will hang over sides of pan). Pour cherry mixture into lined baking sheet; set aside.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining piece of dough into a 16-by-11-inch rectangle. Drape over filling. Bring bottom pastry up and over top pastry. Pinch edges to seal. Using a fork, prick top crust all over. Brush with heavy cream or egg wash.

Bake until crust is golden and filling is bubbling, 40 to 55 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack until just warm to the touch, about 45 minutes.

In a medium bowl, stir together confectioners’ sugar and milk, water or lemon juice (or combination thereof) until desired glaze consistency is achieved. Use a spoon to drizzle over top. Serve warm or room temperature.


Aunt Suzy says

I love it when things come together for an unexpected treat!   This week’s convergence of forces was triggered by seeing this recipe on Smitten Kitchen.  I wistfully sent it to my brother in Central Illinois because I know about this time of year Margaux’s Aunt Gigi invites them out to pick cherries at “The Big House”.  Wistfully, because I was confident that I would not find fresh sour cherries here in Minnesota.  They are a favorite of mine from childhood – my Mom made great cherry pies – and I have never seen them available here.  But, wait!  Unexpected force #2 was, to my amazement, Prairie Hollow Farm at the Mill City Farmers Market  had fresh sour cherries this weekend.  I snapped them up so I could make this pie, which I did for a get-together with friends Sue and Al.  The pie was a hit!  I will make it again later this week when I visit family where I’ll use those cherries my brother picked.

A note on the quantities and ingredients:   I ended up with a little under 4 cups of cherries once I had pitted them and removed those that were past their prime.   Because of this I used an 8 1/2-inch pie plate.  If you are lucky enough to have more cherries, you can use a 9 or 9 1/2-inch pie plate.  The first quantity in the recipe is for the smaller plate, the second is for the larger.  For the almonds, I recommend that if you have a food processor that you use it instead of chopping the almonds.  This will release their oils, which will give a more pronounced almond flavor which is such a delicious match for cherries.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.  Line a pie plate with your favorite single-crust pie dough.  Here’s ours.  Place in the refrigerator until ready for use.

Prepare the crumble:

1/2 cup-2/3 cup whole oats, coarsely ground in a food processor

1/3 cup- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup-1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup-3/4 cup unsalted whole almonds, coarsely ground in a food processor or chopped by hand

5 – 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

Grind the oats in a food processor or blender until they resemble a coarse flour.  Place in a bowl and add the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt and whisk together to blend.  Grind the almonds in a food processor or chop by hand, then add to the bowl.  Stir in the melted butter.  Set aside.

Prepare the cherry filling:

2/3 cup-3/4 cup sugar

2-3 tablespoons flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

4 cups-5 cups pitted fresh sour cherries( or you can use frozen, partially thawed) 

Mix the above ingredients together.

Assemble and bake the pie:

Pour the cherries into the prepared, dough-lined pie plate.  Sprinkle the crumble over the cherries.  Place the pie plate onto the center rack in the pre-heated oven.  Line the oven bottom with foil or place a cookie sheet on the rack below the pie.  Bake for 15 minutes at 425, then lower the temperature to 350 and bake for 30-40 minutes more.  The pie is done when the cherry filling bubbles and the crumble is a little crisp.  Remove from the oven, place on a rack and cool to room temperature before serving.  We all agreed that this pie is best unadorned – no ice cream or whipped cream, although use your own judgment.

 My favorite time to eat pie – breakfast! 

 Or Breakfast of Champions as my sister-in-law, Cindy, likes to say.  Oops!  Tatum beat me to the punch . . . gotta go!